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Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 17, 2023 at 12:22 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Oct 17, 2023 at 12:17 pm
Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge Picture
7.3
Music
7.0
Videos/Movies
6.6
Podcasts
3.1
Voice Assistant
5.4
Outdoors

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge is a premium home speaker that stands out from the crowd thanks to its unique design. Its elliptical shape calls to mind the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021, though, unlike the Zeppelin, this speaker doesn't offer built-in voice assistant support. This stylish device is an excellent addition to your home decor, and its support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2 technology makes it easy to wirelessly stream audio from your phone or other mobile devices.

Our Verdict

7.3 Music

The Bowers & Wilkins Wedge is satisfactory for music. Out of the box, it has decent frequency response accuracy, especially in the mids, where most voices and instruments reproduce. As a result, it's suitable for listening to lots of different music genres. It gets loud, too, and its bass and treble adjustments let you switch up its sound. It lacks a full graphic EQ to adjust its output across the range.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • Lackluster companion app.
7.0 Videos/Movies

The Bowers & Wilkins Wedge isn't intended for watching movies, but if you want to watch videos through a paired smartphone, it can get the job done. Dialogue is clear, and there's a little boom in the bass for action-packed scenes. There's very little latency over Apple AirPlay, too, so you don't have to worry about lip-synching issues.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay compatibility.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • Lackluster companion app.
6.6 Podcasts

The Bowers & Wilkins Wedge is fair for podcasts. Dialogue is clearly reproduced, meaning you can follow along with your favorite shows with ease. The speaker gets loud and lets you wirelessly stream from your phone over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay. Its wired-only design means you can't easily bring it with you from room to room as you listen.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay compatibility.
Cons
  • Lackluster companion app.
  • Wired-only design.
3.1 Voice Assistant

This speaker doesn't support voice assistants.

5.4 Outdoors

The Bowers & Wilkins Wedge is a wired-only device that isn't meant for outdoor use.

  • 7.3 Music
  • 7.0 Videos/Movies
  • 6.6 Podcasts
  • 3.1 Voice Assistant
  • 5.4 Outdoors
  1. Updated Oct 17, 2023: Added market comparison for the Bluesound PULSE 2i in the Dynamics box.
  2. Updated Aug 21, 2023: Updated the Portability picture for greater clarity and consistency between reviews.
  3. Updated Feb 17, 2023: Review published.
  4. Updated Feb 15, 2023: Early access published.
  5. Updated Feb 10, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  6. Updated Feb 06, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  7. Updated Jan 16, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  8. Updated Jan 12, 2023: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we'll buy and test it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge is available in either Black or Silver color variants. We tested the Black variant, and you can see the label for our model here. However, we expect the Silver version to perform similarly.

If you come across another version of this speaker, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bowers & Wilkins Wedge is a unique-looking home speaker that's designed to stand out when placed among your home decor. It offers impressive audio quality, with an adjustable EQ available in its companion app. Its high-end pricing can be limiting for many, and compared to other home speakers, it lacks built-in voice assistant support.

You can also check out the best home speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers for bass.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021 and the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge are both high-end home speakers with unique designs. Depending on your style, you may prefer one to the other. That said, only the Zeppelin offers built-in voice assistant support. It performs a little better at max volume, so you notice less compression in the mix.

Denon Home 350

The Denon Home 350 is better for home use than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge. Both are stylish wired-only speakers with sleek designs, though the Bowers & Wilkins will stand out more in your home decor. That said, it can't reproduce as much low-bass as the Denon and lacks built-in voice assistant support. Overall, the Denon is the more versatile choice.

Sonos Five

The Sonos Five is better than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge. Both of these wired home speakers have high-end price tags, and while the Bowers & Wilkins has a stand-out design, the Sonos is more likely to blend into your home decor. When it comes to sound, the Sonos brings more low-bass, too. However, it doesn't offer Bluetooth connectivity like the Bowers & Wilkins.

Devialet Mania

The Devialet Mania and the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge are both very high-end speakers. They each have stylish designs and, depending on your preferences, you may like one more than the other. The Devialet is battery-operated, so it's much more portable, and its IPX4 rating for water resistance makes it more suitable for outdoor use. Unlike the Bowers & Wilkins, it has built-in voice assistant support.

Bluesound PULSE 2i

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge and the Bluesound PULSE 2i are two premium speakers with different strengths. They're both wired-only devices with different designs, and you may prefer one over the other based on your tastes. As for the sound, the Bluesound is a bit louder, while the Bowers & Wilkins brings a touch more bass.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge is a unique-looking home speaker that's designed to stand out. It has an elliptical shape, similar to the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021, and it's wrapped in fabric. On top, there's a glass panel with LED touch control lights.

3.1
Design
Portability
Volume
1,480 inยณ (24,252 cmยณ)
Weight
14.1 lbs (6.4 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
No

Since this is a wired-only speaker, it isn't very portable. It's also rather large and heavy, so you can't carry it in one hand.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
No
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

This speaker has a solid and premium feel overall. It's wrapped in mesh fabric with a faceted pattern, but it doesn't feel as tight as the fabric that comes with the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021. The fabric seems like it could rip if you aren't careful when carrying it. Similar to other home speakers, it isn't rated for dust or water resistance, so it's not meant for use near water.

5.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The controls are on top of the speaker. Overall, they're really easy to use, and you can adjust the volume or play/pause your audio with the touch of a button. They light up when you touch them, too, which makes it easy to see what you're doing in a dark room. However, other functionalities like skipping tracks can only be done through your paired device or the app, which isn't ideal if you don't want to use your phone.

Design
In The Box

  • Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge
  • Manuals
  • Power cable

Sound
7.1
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.41
Std. Err.
3.11 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.6 kHz

This speaker has decent frequency response accuracy. Overall, its sound profile is pretty even. As a result, it's suitable for listening to many different types of audio content. There's a little extra boom in the high-bass that adds some excitement to rumbling tracks like EDM and hip-hop, though the slight dip in the mid-mids can make voices slightly hollow or recessed at times. If you want a different sound, you can adjust the bass and treble in the companion app.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
8.2
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
3.38 dB
Stereo
Yes

Its soundstage is great. This speaker can playback stereo content without downmixing it to mono, so sound effects like instruments are accurately localized to pinpoint locations in the soundstage. For example, if you're meant to hear a guitar on the right and a keyboard on the left, the speaker will reproduce each sound accordingly. It has good directivity, so the soundstage is perceived as spacious and open-sounding.

7.4
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
96.6 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.13 dB

This speaker gets loud, so it has no trouble filling larger or more open spaces with sound. Some compression and pumping artifacts are present at max volume, especially in the bass range. The Bluesound PULSE 2i is a good option if you want a speaker that gets even louder with less compression at max volume.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

While there aren't any built-in voice assistants, you can set up another Amazon Alexa device to control this speaker via the Bowers & Wilkins app.

6.1
Active Features
App
App Name
Bowers & Wilkins Music
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
No
Multi-Room
Yes

The Bowers & Wilkins Music app is rather simple. There are bass and treble adjustments if you want to change the speaker's sound, and you can also use the app to access music streaming services like Deezer and Tidal. Also, there's a feature called Spaces that lets you play music from other Bowers & Wilkins devices within the same area. Check out a video of the app here.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

Aside from its power port, there's a USB-C input on the rear of the speaker to service it. However, you can't use it to playback audio.

7.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
4.1
Bluetooth iOS Latency
216 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
112 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

You can stream content from your mobile devices to the speaker via Bluetooth. It has a fantastic range, so your phone or tablet remains connected to the device, even if you're further away. If you're using an Android device, the relatively low latency means you won't notice any lip-synching issues while watching videos. However, there's a bit more of a delay over iOS devices. Some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience can vary.

7.5
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Unspecified
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
23 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

You can wirelessly stream audio to the speaker over a Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay connection. Thanks to its low latency over AirPlay, you won't notice a delay between the audio you hear and the visuals on screen when watching videos. Of course, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary slightly.